If You See a Wooden Table with a Circular Metal Indent, It’s Probably a Hatch Door Table

Each table is made from a salvaged ship door.

If you’ve ever wandered around a maritime town’s antique shops or stayed in a nautical-themed beach house, you’ve probably encountered a table that has circular metal indents in the corners. These rustic pieces transform the feel of a room, whether they’re used as dining tables, kitchen islands, desks or coffee tables. It’s a way to bring subtle nautical vibes into the decor, and the reclaimed wood has plenty of antique charm.

A user finally asked Reddit about these tables, and the internet delivered a response. It turns out these are hatch door tables, and they’re repurposed from parts of old ships.

What Is a Hatch Door Table?

It’s a table made using a hatch door, a door that went from the deck to the cargo hold or another lower part of a ship. Hatch doors usually have some sort of circular metal indent or “hole” with a handle that allowed sailors to open it from above. Those old doors have the perfect size and sturdiness to hold up to everyday use.

Today, hatch door tables make coveted pieces of furniture, but they were originally just a way for carpenters to repurpose salvaged material from deconstructed ships.

Does It Have a Purpose?

Hatch door tables aren’t made with a specific purpose in mind, aside from reusing old wood. However, you can’t deny that they look cool, and they’re a sure-fire way to add a nautical aesthetic. If you’d like to get a hatch door table of your own, your best bet is to look around antique stores or scour websites like eBay and Etsy.

You can also search for a salvaged hatch door yourself and enlist help from someone with carpentry skills. Before you start looking, though, be prepared to pay a pretty penny! This isn’t the kind of valuable thing you’ll find on a Goodwill run.

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Sarra Sedghi
Sarra Sedghi is a Birmingham-based writer and editor specializing in food, travel, and history. Her work has appeared in Allrecipes, Atlas Obscura, Eater, MyRecipes, Polygon, and Tasting Table. She excels at narrative writing, and received her MFA in Narrative Nonfiction from the University of Georgia in 2017.